Bed bug infestation forces local library to close

Bed bugs were spotted in Ealing library, forcing it to shut for at least four days. Credit: PA

Bed bugs have forced Ealing library to close for at least four days as pest control was called in to treat the infestation.

The library was shut on October 30 at 1.30pm and the council say it should open again on Friday, November 2 after the building has been treated.

The library would only reopened after a full course of treatment has been applied by contractors Rentokill, the council said.

The council said it recognised the public and staff had concerns and decided temporarily closing the library was the right course of action. Credit: Facebook/Ealing Libraries

Pest control firms in London have reported being “inundated” with calls about bedbugs warning the spread of the blood-sucking insects is “out of control”.

David Cain, founder of Bed Bugs Limited, said there had been “exponential growth” in bedbug cases over the last 20 years.

“The problem is worse now than it’s been since probably the 1930s and 1940s”.

Bed bug panic swept France last month, forcing the closure of schools and cinema, but the problem is already close to home with pest control experts warning there was a “bedbug epidemic in West London”, with flats in Victorian houses being a particular source of cases.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ealing council said: "Ealing Library was closed on 30 October 2023 at 1.30pm as staff noticed pests (bed bugs) in the library. It is anticipated that the library will reopen on Thursday 2 November and normal service will resume.  The council is actively addressing this issue with professional pest control solutions.

"These treatments will be administered during the library's closure and the chemicals used are safe for individuals of all ages.  

A fully grown bed bug is around 5mm long. Credit: NHS England

"The technical advice was that it was safe for both the public and staff to re-open the library – both in terms of controlling and preventing the spread of the infestation and in relation to the chemicals used to treat furniture.

"However, the council recognised that library users and staff had concerns and decided that temporarily closing the library was the right course of action. 

"The library is only being reopened after a full course of treatment has been applied by contractors Rentokill. The council will continue to monitor the situation and take preventative measures to ensure that the issue has been fully resolved, and that everything is being done to prevent its recurrence.  

"We extend our apologies for any inconvenience this situation may cause and thank residents and library staff for their understanding.

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • bites – often on skin exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms

  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug

  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture

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